Friday, June 10, 2005

closed windows?

Cringely's got an interesting take on the Apple/Intel thing... he thinks they are lining up to knock Microsoft out of the market. Since it doesn't make business sense for Apple alone (the Osborne Factor plus pissing off a bunch of die-hard Mac fans) and doesn't make much technological sense (AMD would have been a better match) there must have been some strong motivation for the switch. Intel could have suggested (funded?) the move out of a desire to have someone develop software that actually uses the features of their chips, instead of merely dumping bloatware on them like MS does.

Apple already has a portable operating system (OSX is BSD Unix and a dash of Linux with a pretty face, by way of NeXTStep), so making the move to the new chips isn't as drastic as it seems. The *real* move happened when OSX came out, so it's actually kind of funny seeing people get irate now - technically the OS they are using isn't part of the Mac lineage anyway. It's the veneer of Apple ethos that has continuity with the past, and if Apple didn't see a need to discard that ethos when they made changes at the operating system level, it's unlikely they will discard it when they make changes at the hardware level.

This looks like a win-win situation for everyone except Microsoft: Apple gets more powerful hardware, PC users likely end up with another choice of OS, and Microsoft gets a fire lit under their asses. Some rabid fans on both sides of the PC/Mac divide are getting their knickers in a twist, but they're like the people who put "Be American, Buy American" stickers on their Mexican-made Fords while scorning US-made 'Japanese' cars - once Apple moved to a Unix base, the whole thing became an abstraction. Use what works.